Confidence is an inner game. That means it comes from inside of you. Confidence is what you think you are capable. That thinking part isn’t always as easy as it sounds.
Here are 4 hacks to help train your thoughts so you can feel more confident.
HACK # 1 - Know You Can – Competency
Before you feel any resemblance of comfort doing anything, you need some knowledge of how to do it. Even a guide telling you “step here” helps to feel slightly more confident even if you have never climbed that mountain before. The same is true in leadership. Confidence comes easier when you feel competent.
There are 2 parts to increasing competency:
Training can be formal courses or college or university programs. It can also be reading a book, attending a webinar, or talking to a mentor. Training is increasing your knowledge and skills.
Knowledge by itself doesn’t do a whole bunch for your confidence level. It is when you start applying the knowledge that you start to excel. Regular practice turns you from bumbling around to proficient and then to skilled or excellent.
TAKE ACTION: What area do you need to bump up your knowledge level? How can you practice this skill more?
For example, perhaps you avoid conflicts. You may decide that reading a book such as The Anatomy of Peace. That completes only half of the equation. Working your way through the suggestions in the book during staff meetings, at one-to-one supervision sessions with employees or in conversations with your board member, will allow you to hone the skills.
HACK # 2 - Believe You Can - Mindset
Do you remember reading The Little Engine that Could? I think I can, I think I can, I think I can….
Confidence is what you think you can do….
Rather than telling ourselves I think I can, we spend more time listening to the overactive Gremlins in our mind that are doubting we can.
I don’t think I can! This isn’t going to work! I can’t handle this!
These inner doubting voices leave us in a persistent state of hesitation and uncertainty. Starting to get a handle on what is going on in your mind and shifting those thoughts to more helpful ones are critical to adopting a confident mindset.
Your Inner Guidance System (thoughts, feelings and body sensations) will help shift your mindset. Learn to use the Inner Guidance Cycle, and you will be well on your way!
TAKE ACTION: Take regular pauses during your day to noticing (ponder) reoccurring thoughts. Consider what shifts (pivots) you can do in your thinking to get you back into more confident action (proceed).
HINT – Learning the steps of the Inner Guidance Cycle will help you do this more automatically throughout your day (Pause, Ponder, Pivot and Proceed)
Watch this to learn more about the Inner Guidance Cycle
HACK # 3 - Act Like You Can - Courage
Most of us spend a lot of time hanging out in our comfort zone staying safe. We are waiting to feel confident before we move forward. The problem is that action comes before feeling.
You don’t feel the bonds of friendship with someone until you act friendly towards them. Love doesn’t emerge until you’ve demonstrated loving actions towards another. Often the act of dancing then makes you feel joyful.
Confidence often comes AFTER you’ve been courageous. When you step outside of your comfort zone, your comfort zone grows larger.
Remember the action of courage and confidence comes before the feeling of confidence. So, lean into your fear. It’s where you will also find your confidence growing.
TAKE ACTION: Notice where you are uncomfortable and even a little fearful. What action can you take there, that will grow your comfort zone.
For example, you may be uncomfortable speaking up at meetings and sharing your ideas. The place then to take action is at an upcoming meeting. Even though it feels awkward or even scary, voice your opinion once.
HACK # 4 - Stand Like You Can - Posture
Think about a shy, awkward teenager. Now consider a meek, timid woman. Then reflect on a yellow-bellied coward. What’s the body position of all of them?
Then think about a confident, self-assured person. How about an influential leader? Consider a strong, inspiring speaker. You get the picture already don’t you? Their body posture is entirely different.
The second body posture, not only conveys messages to others, but it also releases hormones in your body that makes you feel more confident. Try shifting the way you are standing and sitting, so you are in a more confident position. The change in your body posture will make you feel more confident.
ACTION ITEM: Practice your body posture in the mirror. Slouch and pull in. Consider speaking up at a meeting or addressing a conflict with staff. Then stand up tall and roll your shoulder’s back. Notice how different you feel in the second pose.
The 4 confidence hacks
In the coming weeks, I will go into these hacks in more detail. Already thought, you can start to apply these ideas to increase your confidence levels so you can achieve the desired impact you want in your leadership.
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Women leaders often hit a point where they find themselves in over their heads and wondering if they have what it takes to lead.